“What major should I choose?” That is the age old question at college dating back to the first universities in ancient Greece. On February 26th, St. Petersburg College Seminole campus enlisted 2014 businesswoman of the year finalist Tammy Curtis and faculty from all over the college system to help students find their answer.
Tammy Curtis kicked off the event with a keynote in the Digitorium, where she told students about how to succeed in the business world. Curtis works as managing director at the Stephen Douglas and Associates, but she began her professional life doing theatrical makeup and working as a temporary employee. What is even more amazing is that Curtis took this career path without the benefit of a college degree.
This is not a path she recommended for young people entering the job market today. “I was the lucky exception,” said Curtis. She told the audience that determination, passion, and education are the key attributes for success. “Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you,” said Curtis. She told the audience that education does not end on graduation day, and that her parents were the first of a long series of mentors that led to her success.
She provided an example of passion from her work with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. Her Little Sister wanted to sing but was not very good at it when they first met. In time and with work, Curtis’s Little Sister’s talent caught up with her passion for music. Caring about her craft led Curtis’s Little Sister to study and practice her art, and as the old saw goes practice makes perfect.
Curiosity goes hand in hand with passion according to Curtis. Most of the opportunities she had came from trying new things, and being willing to experiment. She stressed that it is important for students to be up front about their qualifications, but to answer the door when opportunity knocks. “You can do more things than you know,” said Curtis.
After the keynote students were invited to browse tables at the Majors Fair, featuring representatives of each department of the school. These representatives also held presentations for students on their areas of study, and why students might want to pursue a major in the field. Among those present at the Major Fair were Bumba and Sheba, two dogs from the St. Petersburg College’s veterinary technology program that were in the process of being placed in new homes. The program has a Facebook page where they show animals that are available for adoption. Major Jeff Livingston, retired, of the Reserve Officers Training Corps Suncoast Battalion was there to let students know the benefits of the ROTC program that serves both the University of South Florida and St. Petersburg College. At the Social and Behavioral Sciences booth, St. Petersburg College student and future historian Christina Stomper, a woman with no doubts about her major on hand to help others. Why is she so sure? Stomper responded with a question of her own “How can you fix the future if you don’t know what’s been done in the past?”